Holiday Grief: 5 Steps for Getting Through the Loss of a Pet

No one is prepared for dealing with the loss of a pet, and the holiday and new year season can be the toughest time to experience that loss. However, there are some steps you can take to deal with that grief effectively and move through the stages of loss to come out the other side.

1. Find someone to talk to

One of the best ways to deal with grief is to share your feelings. Find someone who you trust and confide in them about what you are going through and how the loss makes you feel. You might be surprised at how comforting it is to simply talk about your experience. The holiday season might not be the time of year that people usually unload on others with all of their grief, as many people pretend to be happy just to fit in, but it may be important for you to discuss your grief with someone who will listen.

2. Be there for someone else

You can learn a lot about your grief and how it affects you by talking to someone else who is experiencing grief. If the grief and loss are fresher to them, then you can provide advice and comfort that can help them move on. You might be surprised at how it can help you as well, and as you provide comfort to them, you will experience a measure of comfort for yourself. Grieving with people can help both you and them.

There may be times that you need to grieve with your pet too. You may have to help your pup through dog abortion, or your cat through a miscarriage, and there are a number of medical reasons why this can happen. You can help your dog get through this grieving period that she will experience by being there for here, providing her with comfort and companionship and ensuring that she eats her food and drinks plenty of water. Grieving pets can sometimes forget to take care of themselves, so in these times you will need to step in and be strong - even if you are grieving yourself.

3. Give yourself some space

What many people need when they grieve is space for themselves and time to grieve. That can be tough to get during the holiday season when everyone is rushing around and staying very busy. You’ll also have lots of friends and family to deal with at this time of year, in most cases, and you need to plan some time away for yourself.

This may be a few minutes each day or a few days that you have decided will be personal time. You can spend this time with friends too, but purposely detaching from the breakneck pace and the stress of the holidays

4. Write down your experiences

One strategy that lots of people have found helpful in dealing with the loss of a pet is to simply write about it every day. This provides them with an outlet for their feelings and it gives them a way to express how they feel, putting words to sensations they may not understand. Many people say that they better understand their grief and why they feel the way they feel just by keeping a journal. The more often you write about your grief and your feelings, the more helpful this tool will be in helping you pass through the stages of grief.

Woman writing in journal to deal with cope of the loss of a pet.

5. Give rest to your feelings and your pet

One method that has helped many people is to bury their pet and provide a memorial that they find fitting. This can create a sense of finality and closure for the pet owner and help them to move on. Rather than just feel an emptiness about their pet, they can understand in a more concrete way that their pet is gone and perhaps move on with a new pet.

Melissa Kauffman, Catster & Dogster magazine editor

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